Month: December 2014

Grad Student Spotlight: Erik Carboni

By Sydney Souder

Photo of Erik

As he nears the completion of his PhD in chemical engineering, Erik Carboni has had plenty of time to acquaint himself with the useful facilities and knowledgeable staff here at the University of Connecticut. Over the years Erik has learned that if he needs a certain machine or instrument, he can easily find and use it. “If I had to describe UConn in one word, I would say that it is productive.”

The Connecticut native chose UConn knowing it was a strong school for chemical engineering. UConn’s top ranked school of pharmacy was a plus for Erik, since it enabled him to add a pharmaceutical component to his research.Photo of Erik working in the lab

Erik is investigating the flow behavior of nano and micro-particles in blood. The goal of his research is to improve drug delivery to cancerous tumors and other diseases. He finds it rewarding to contribute to treatment therapies. “If we can find the optimal size and shape that leads to maximal margination—which is the movement of particles toward the blood vessel wall—then we can maximize the delivery of nanoparticle drug carriers.”

Last October, Erik presented his work at the Society of Rheology annual meeting in Philadelphia. The talk was titled, “The Rheology of Nanoparticles in Blood for Improved Cancer Therapy.” This research offers a new perspective on mechanisms associated with margination.

Erik treasures the mentorship provided by his Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Anson Ma. “He found a project for me that he knew that I would enjoy working on. He is someone who genuinely cares about his students.”

After receiving his PhD, Erik aspires to a research position at a pharmaceutical company, but would love to teach if the opportunity presented itself.



CBE Undergraduates Win AIChE Poster Prizes

By Sydney Souder

Students of the CBE department excelled at AIChE’s Undergraduate Poster Competition this November. Despite fierce competition among more than 300 student presenters, six UConn Chemical Engineers took home prizes.

The 2014 AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) Annual Meeting was held in Atlanta, Georgia this year. It is the premier forum for chemical engineers, and academic and industry experts presented developments on a wide range of topics relevant to cutting-edge research, new technologies, and emerging growth areas in chemical engineering.

Over the years, the Undergraduate Poster Session has become one of the highlights of the conference. Competing students each prepared a poster detailing progress and contributions on their independent research projects. During the conference, the students presented their work to individual judges. Over 80 judges were in attendance, all of which were senior AIChE members from academia or industry.

The research categories included: Catalysis and Reaction Engineering; Sustainability; Food, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology; Separations; Environmental; Education; Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy; Computing and Process Control; and Materials Engineering and Sciences. Awards were presented to the top posters in each division.

We’re pleased to announce that the following UConn CBE undergraduates won in their divisions:

  • Gabriella Frey – 1st Place in Separations
    “Formulating Draw Solution Mixtures for Forward Osmosis”
  • Gianna Credaroli – 2nd Place in Separations
    “A New Thin Film Composite Membrane”
  • Oscar Nordness – 2nd place in energy fuels and petrochemicals
    “Incorporation of High Pressure CLC into IGCC systems”
  • Abbey Wangstrom – 2nd place in Reaction and Catalysis Engineering
    “High Activity, High Stability Pt/ITO Fuel Cell Catalysts”
  • Clarke Palmer – 3rd Place in Fuels, Petrochemicals, and Energy
    “Reactor Design and Analysis of a Simulated moving Bed Reactor for Chemical-Looping Combustion”
  • Ari Fischer – 3rd Place in Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
    “Thermochemical CO2 and H2O Splitting Via Chemical-Looping with Cerium and Cobalt Mixed Oxides for Oxygen Generation”

After their hard work, the CBE faculty treated our undergraduates to a night on the town.